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Old 01-24-2021, 11:02 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Default A Contemporary Guitar made with Contemporary Hand Tools

I am making a spec Greta GA Bloodwood and Swiss Moon Spruce guitar in this build thread:



While building this instrument I want to showcase some of the available contemporary hand tools I am using in my studio. I want to demonstrate the value that hand tools bring to building a higher quality guitar. Hand tools are often shown as the traditional old romantic way of building. I'm not selling romance here I want to show the quality and accuracy that hand tools bring.

specs:

Back and sides: Bloodwood
Top: Master Grade Swiss "Moon" Alpine Spruce
Neck: One Piece Honduran Mahogany (35yrs Seasoned)
Fretboard: Black Ebony
Trim and Art Deco Inlays: Black Ebony, Bloodwood, Black Mother-of-Pearl
Purfling: Black Wood, Maple, Bloodwood
Florentine cutaway
Arm Bevel
Large Open Headstock
Black Schertler Tuners
Black Buffalo Horn Custom Tuner Buttons
Nut and Saddle: Bone
Nut Width 1 3/4"
Saddle String Space 2 1/4"
Finish: Catalyst Urethane
Red to Black Neck Sunset Burst

Here is the Bloodwood back and sides set:



Here is the back with one wet side:



I selected a set with a little figure and a lot of tap tone and sustain. Bloodwood is harder, stiffer, and heavier that Black Ebony and unlike Black Ebony it rings like glass. It is a very resonate wood with eternal sustain. You don't see it on guitars much because its hard to work with and bend.

Here I am using a #62 Lie-Nielsen low angle jack plane on a shooting board to prepare the Bloodwood sides for joining. Planned wood glue joint is much stronger than a sanded wood glue joint for this long thin joint down the center of the guitar back:



It is arguable that Lie-Nielsen is the single most influential company leading to the resurgence of hand tools that is occurring today. They have taken many of the classic hand tool designs (especially Stanley hand planes) and have updated them with currently available materials, accuracy of manufacture, and design improvements.

The advantage of a low-angle plane is the blade bevel is on top. Which means if you have, say a highly figured piece of wood, you can optimize the blade cut angle to eliminate tear out by simply changing the blades bevel angle. It doesn't work like that with a high angle plane.
Another feature available for this plane is the add on "Hot Dog" handle that adds better grip and control so you can achieve a perfect shooting board cut.

OK so we're off. I want to add one more thing here on this first post. I am not trying to sell anything but my guitars here. I have no agreements with any tool makers. I researched and bought these tools like anybody else can.
My only endorsement for any of these tools is my opinion that so far they were the best I could find and afford for what I do and how I do it.

Thanks for Viewing!
Mark
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:09 AM
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Being an "old school" guy in almost everything I do - this will be very interesting to watch!
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:14 PM
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You've written so much about this in your recent studio threads, Mark, that I am excited to see a dedicated thread that will highlight this central element of your builds
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
Being an "old school" guy in almost everything I do - this will be very interesting to watch!
I am with Todd on this one! Looking forward to more....

Thanks for sharing this!

Paul
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:57 PM
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..very interesting and adoreable.. to learn and revive those old and dwindling techniques. IĎm in to follow as well!
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:35 PM
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Mark

Great thread start.

As a woodworker, I agree with you about Lie-Nielsen tools. Nearly flawless. I would also add Veritas to that description. In fact Veritas might even be a little more innovative. Iíve invested in both (and at their prices it is an investment) and love them. Good tools make any work a pleasure.

Keep coming with your progress. Great choices of wood. It should be a beautiful guitar.

Jack
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitness1 View Post
Being an "old school" guy in almost everything I do - this will be very interesting to watch!
Thanks for following along Todd!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erithon View Post
You've written so much about this in your recent studio threads, Mark, that I am excited to see a dedicated thread that will highlight this central element of your builds
Thanks Erithon, Itís easy to get lost in writing about how much I like a good hand tool because well, once figured out they are quite lovable tools. However, there are actual end product quality improvements that come with using these tools properly and appropriately. I hope to show what some of improvements are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
I am with Todd on this one! Looking forward to more....

Thanks for sharing this!

Paul
Thanks Paul, glad to have you on board!

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Originally Posted by Lonzo View Post
..very interesting and adoreable.. to learn and revive those old and dwindling techniques. IĎm in to follow as well!
Great glad to have you along on this one Lonzo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawk View Post
Mark

Great thread start.

As a woodworker, I agree with you about Lie-Nielsen tools. Nearly flawless. I would also add Veritas to that description. In fact Veritas might even be a little more innovative. Iíve invested in both (and at their prices it is an investment) and love them. Good tools make any work a pleasure.

Keep coming with your progress. Great choices of wood. It should be a beautiful guitar.

Jack
Thanks for commenting Jack. I agree with you that Veritas runs toe to toe with Lie Nielsen and may even have an edge in some areas on different tools. If they are close Iíll go with Lie-Nielsen in most cases. This is mainly because of Lie-Nielsenís strong customer support and the fact they are so close to me. What I order today, Iíll get tomorrow. Itís an easy car ride for me to get to their show room where I can talk shop and try out any of the tools they make (once we get past this pandemic and their shop reopens). Thatís a tie breaker for me in most cases

Mark
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Old 01-24-2021, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
Thanks for commenting Jack. I agree with you that Veritas runs toe to toe with Lie Nielsen and may even have an edge in some areas on different tools. If they are close Iíll go with Lie-Nielsen in most cases. This is mainly because of Lie-Nielsenís strong customer support and the fact they are so close to me. What I order today, Iíll get tomorrow. Itís an easy car ride for me to get to their show room where I can talk shop and try out any of the tools they make (once we get past this pandemic and their shop reopens). Thatís a tie breaker for me in most cases

Mark
Mark

I understand. I am jealous that you are so close Lie-Nielsen. It does make my marriage happier that I canít just drop in to look at tools. . Good look with your build. Iím going to be watching with great interest.

Jack
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Old 01-25-2021, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for posting this thread Mark. I'll be glad to learn how use of hand tools improves the quality. Hard to imagine with your guitars. Not doubting you ... just sayin'!
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Old 01-25-2021, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
Thanks for following along Todd!

Thanks Erithon, Itís easy to get lost in writing about how much I like a good hand tool because well, once figured out they are quite lovable tools. However, there are actual end product quality improvements that come with using these tools properly and appropriately. I hope to show what some of improvements are.
Mark
Mark - you're bringing back many fond memories of perusing all of the goodies at the "Fine Tool Shoppes" and "Woodcraft Supply". Of course, their print catalogs were always close at hand and well thumbed through. Like many others, I am looking forward to this thread.

Many thanks.

Rick
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:39 AM
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Great post Mr. Hatcher!. Years ago I bought a set of Lie-Nielsen hand planes and I use them consistently in my work. These, along with a nice set of chisels, are my favorite tools, and I think of how happy I am that I bought them all the time. Great quality American made tools.
I look forward to watching this post.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cigarfan View Post
Thanks for posting this thread Mark. I'll be glad to learn how use of hand tools improves the quality. Hard to imagine with your guitars. Not doubting you ... just sayin'!
Thanks cigarfan, Iíve got more to come!

Quote:
Originally Posted by srick View Post
Mark - you're bringing back many fond memories of perusing all of the goodies at the "Fine Tool Shoppes" and "Woodcraft Supply". Of course, their print catalogs were always close at hand and well thumbed through. Like many others, I am looking forward to this thread.

Many thanks.

Rick
Thanks Rick glad youíre following along on this one. I think so many people try working with basic hand tools and get frustrated but, once you have a quality tool and know how to use it it is a whole different game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kraus View Post
Great post Mr. Hatcher!. Years ago I bought a set of Lie-Nielsen hand planes and I use them consistently in my work. These, along with a nice set of chisels, are my favorite tools, and I think of how happy I am that I bought them all the time. Great quality American made tools.
I look forward to watching this post.
Thanks for commenting Bill. I agree hand planes and chisels are the work horses in a wood shop. There are so many applications for them especially in lutherie!
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:00 PM
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Great post, Mark, and I really look forward to following it. I have a question, if you donít mind. Iím going to purchase a new plane for jointing and have been debating between a low angle jack plane and a longer jointer plane. Your thoughts? Thanks! Dave
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Old 01-25-2021, 11:23 PM
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This should be fun! Way back, in a much earlier life, I owned a fine woodworking tool store. We had the best english, german, french, swedish, and japanese tools that could be found. Other than Starrett and Fuller, and our local carbide shop, there were very few american made items we could carry - just not a lot of quality. But it was starting - I remember getting out first Hock plane irons in - amazing steel on a par or better than much of the vintage steel we craved -

Now, I see the products from Bridge City, Lee Valley, Lie-Neilsen, Veritas, and another dozen or more small shops making incredible items that are so fine - very much like the fine guitars we have to choose from these days, too -

Explaining the details of some of your tools choices and fixture designs would be a great addition for some of the people following this thread and maybe encourage them to try!
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2021, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Carpinteria View Post
Great post, Mark, and I really look forward to following it. I have a question, if you don’t mind. I’m going to purchase a new plane for jointing and have been debating between a low angle jack plane and a longer jointer plane. Your thoughts? Thanks! Dave
Thanks Dave, I went with the low angle jack plane because it is so versatile.
The plane is 14" long and the longest straight joint I use it for is about 22" when joining tops and backs.
When using a shooting board the length of the plane doesn't really matter because the level reference is the shooting board not the plane. Hope that helps.

Quote:
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Now, I see the products from Bridge City, Lee Valley, Lie-Neilsen, Veritas, and another dozen or more small shops making incredible items that are so fine - very much like the fine guitars we have to choose from these days, too -
Thanks for commenting tadol. That has been my impression too. There are a many small shop tool makers that have a deep passion making their tools just as there are a lot of luthiers making their guitars and passionate artists composing and performing their music on those guitars. You know only good things will come of that. A perfect storm of arts, skills and creativity
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